Time to stop censoring comedy with manufactured and over stated outrage

Time to stop censoring comedy with manufactured and over stated outrage

The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings — twice as many as the penis — yet remains significantly less sensitive than angry right-wingers when someone makes a joke about them.

You may have noticed how comedian Jo Brand’s milkshake joke brought all the triggered snowflakes to the yard: referring to members of the public throwing liquid dairy over UK neo-fascists like Nigel Farage and the one who calls himself ‘Tommy Robinson’, Brand quipped: “Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?”.

Cue outrage. Images of acid attack victims (almost exclusively women doused by men with actual acid, not milkshake) alongside images of Jo Brand, with shouty ALL CAPS denunciations to SACK HER NOW; WHAT A DISGRACE; OFF WITH HER HEAD, etc. As though Brand were advocating actual violence, and not expressing opinion via comedy. You know, like a comedian.

She has also said this: “I took my husband to the hospital yesterday to have 17 stitches out — that’ll teach him to buy me a sewing kit for my birthday.” Yet no online rants illustrated with images of embroidered husbands. And this: “Men – can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.”

She also said: “I find comedy fascinating — there is a huge difference between what people find funny.”

No shit, Sherlock. But this isn’t about what people find funny or unfunny. It’s about shutting people up. It’s about manufactured outrage being weaponised into actual censorship.

It’s about double standards, hypocrisy, and in the case of female comedians (and politicians), the relentless misogyny which has morphed from onstage heckling into online trolling.

“It’s very frightening and I wouldn’t blame any woman from wanting to withdraw from that,” Brand told a tabloid a month ago, despite being perhaps the most fearless female comic alive, now that Joan Rivers is making suicide jokes in heaven.

Or as Bret Easton Ellis, in his book White, puts it “Sometimes the funniest, most dangerous comedy does not reassure you that everything is going to be OK.”

As we speak, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has a cartoon representing the Women’s World Cup — a vagina with a football instead of the (highly sensitive, remember) clitoris, and a lame joke about sex.

Is this hilarious? No, not much. Do I want to go around their office with a gun? Also no. Charlie Hebdo offends everyone from Italian earthquake victims to dead Kurdish toddlers to the prophet Muhammad. Don’t like it?

Don’t buy it.

Let’s save our outrage for climate catastrophe and the rise of fascism, rather than diverting it into hissy fits about comedians.

Not funny.

More on this topic

Karl Spain on the three ages of Summer: 'Did you hear he died on his arse the other night in Castlebar'Karl Spain on the three ages of Summer: 'Did you hear he died on his arse the other night in Castlebar'

Tommy Tiernan ahead of his upcoming Cork gig: ‘It all has to be out of control’Tommy Tiernan ahead of his upcoming Cork gig: ‘It all has to be out of control’

Fred Cooke on life after Dancing with the StarsFred Cooke on life after Dancing with the Stars

Angela Barnes will be tickling Kilkenny crowd at Cat Laughs Angela Barnes will be tickling Kilkenny crowd at Cat Laughs

More in this Section

We can’t reduce extreme poverty until we tackle inequalityWe can’t reduce extreme poverty until we tackle inequality

Trump’s hypocrisy and racism vie for supremacyTrump’s hypocrisy and racism vie for supremacy

North is taking a dangerous road as no-deal Brexit disaster loomsNorth is taking a dangerous road as no-deal Brexit disaster looms

Dangerous overcrowding in jails: More prison places neededDangerous overcrowding in jails: More prison places needed

More by this author

We will have to rebel, if we are to surviveWe will have to rebel, if we are to survive

You wouldn’t eat a dog... why a cow?You wouldn’t eat a dog... why a cow?

Boris is posh, but he doesn’t have any classBoris is posh, but he doesn’t have any class

My youthful ideals have not yet left meMy youthful ideals have not yet left me


Lifestyle

This year heralds the return of a much-maligned shade, pulled from the design doldrums and now paired with some unexpected complementary colours, materials and tone-on-tone activity, writes Carol O’Callaghan.Fifty shades of beige

Their romance took Laura Roset and Ken Mohally from Mallow to Moldova and back again.Wedding of the Week: Love spreads from Mallow to Moldova

Every day, I take my wife a cup of tea in bed. However, we sometimes make love in the mornings and she pauses to finish her cup before it goes cold.Sexual healing: Her long tea breaks cools the moment

As the Caped Crusader hits 80 years of protecting Gotham City, Chris Wasser looks at the history of the world’s darkest superhero.80 years on, Batman still packs a punch

More From The Irish Examiner